Facebook Has Made Lots of New Rules This Year. It Doesn’t Always Enforce Them.
Jeff Horwitz, The Wall Street Journal
Facebook Inc. this year has made a flurry of new rules designed to improve the discourse on its platforms. When users report content that breaks those rules, a test by The Wall Street Journal found, the company often fails to enforce them.
Here are the top political donors from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Only one is backing Trump.
Issie Lapowsky, Protocol
Top executives at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have written more than 1,000 checks to political groups totaling more than $16 million this election cycle, with almost all of that money going to Democrats. Protocol partnered with the Center for Responsive Politics to study the top donors at all five companies to find out how much they’re giving and who they’re giving it to.
Lawmakers demand Amazon answer for deception on worker injuries
Will Evans, Reveal News
A trio of Democratic Congress members from Massachusetts is demanding that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos answer questions about the company’s deception around worker injuries and its failure to address high injury rates at its fulfillment centers.
Business Groups Urge Trump to Withdraw Order on Diversity Training
Khadeeja Safdar and Lauren Weber, The Wall Street Journal
More than 150 business and nonprofit groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are asking President Trump to withdraw his executive order that puts a limit on some diversity training. In a letter sent to the White House Thursday, the groups said that the order creates confusion, leads to unnecessary investigations and hinders employers from combating workplace discrimination.
Google launches new features to help locate nearest voting locations
Ayanti Bera and Elizabeth Culliford, Reuters
Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday it was introducing new features across its search engine, Maps and voice assistant to help voters in the United States find their nearest voting locations.
Amazon says third-party sellers made more than $3.5 billion from Prime Day
Annie Palmer, CNBC
Amazon said third-party sellers on its marketplace earned more than $3.5 billion during this year’s Prime Day shopping event, an increase of nearly 60% compared with last year and a record for the small and midsize businesses that make up the marketplace. The company, which didn’t disclose total Prime Day sales, said third-party sellers’ Prime Day sales grew even more than Amazon’s retail business.
White House Strategy Names 20 Emerging Technologies Crucial to National Security
Aaron Boyd, Nextgov
The White House on Thursday rolled out a new strategy to obtain and retain global superiority in world-changing emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, data science and space tech, among others. While the U.S. has been a technology leader for much of the last century, that supremacy is being challenged today.
FAA Revamps Space Launch Rules as SpaceX, Blue Origin Expand
Alan Levin, Bloomberg
Commercial rocket ventures including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin should get a clearer path to space under new regulations that oversee non-government launches. The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday announced it is replacing decades-old rules as it adapts to rapid growth in the industry to propel satellites and, eventually, private citizens into space.
Google nabs Energy Department cloud contract
Ben Geman, Axios
Google Cloud announced Thursday a five-year agreement with the Energy Department to provide the agency with access to a “broad range” of cloud technologies. Why it matters: The Energy Department has a vast research arm and needs highly sophisticated and powerful computing.
Startup founders set up hacker homes to recreate Silicon Valley synergy
Natasha Mascarenhas, TechCrunch
In Y Combinator’s early days, founders would move to Palo Alto, split a two-bedroom with five others to save money and trade notes around the clock with their new, like-minded roommates. Now, as remote work continues and the pandemic persists, scores of entrepreneurs are working from home around the world.
Intellectual Property and Antitrust
How to Stop Google Self-Preferencing? Europe May Not Be the Model
Adrianne Jeffries, The Markup
After a wide-ranging 16-month investigation, a congressional subcommittee examining dominance in the technology industry last week recommended more than two dozen updates to the U.S. antitrust system, including implementing nondiscrimination rules that would limit “preferential or discriminatory treatment” by dominant platforms. But such rules can be hard to enforce, experts said, and attempts by the European Union to spur competition with Google through measures of this sort have fallen short.
Bill Gates says that antitrust regulators should look at tech companies separately, not all at once
Jordan Novet, CNBC
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said it’s too bad that politicians are scrutinizing several large technology companies at once, because different markets the companies operate in have different problems. Gates dealt with government pressure as the CEO of Microsoft in the 1990s when the U.S. Justice Department mounted an antitrust case against the company.
Telecom, Wireless and TV
A financial lifeline for 5G spectrum
Aja Whitaker-Moore, Axios
A company that might be at the center of 5G’s future is being thrown a lifeline. Driving the news: Ligado Networks is raising $3.85 billion in expensive new financing to stay out of bankruptcy. The spectrum company’s survival could be crucial to the long sought-after, and sometimes controversial, dream of deploying a nationwide 5G network.
Verizon forced to pull ad that claimed firefighters need Verizon 5G
Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica
Verizon’s 2018 controversy over its throttling of a fire department’s “unlimited” data plan during a wildfire didn’t stop the carrier from rolling out numerous ads claiming that Verizon service is a must-have for firefighters and other emergency responders. But a couple of those ads apparently went too far, and Verizon agreed to stop running them after a complaint that T-Mobile lodged with the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body.
Mobile Technology and Social Media
WeChat Judge Unlikely to Let Ban Go Forward Amid U.S. Appeal
Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg
A judge said she’s unlikely to allow the U.S. to implement prohibitions on WeChat while the government appeals her earlier ruling blocking them. U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said at a hearing Thursday that she wasn’t inclined to grant the government’s request for a stay pending appeal.
The GOP starts forging a new alliance with QAnon
Tina Nguyen, Politico
The QAnon world is no longer simply a social media community trafficking in conspiracy theories. It’s increasingly a new constituency for the GOP — one that’s fired up like the rest of the MAGA movement, warring with tech giants and ready to battle through Election Day on behalf of a struggling president.
Facebook is infuriating Republicans. So why isn’t that helping with Democrats?
Emily Birnbaum, Protocol
With Donald Trump behind in the polls and the Republicans’ hold on the Senate in doubt, Facebook has suddenly begun to cede ground on issues important to Democratic lawmakers. The company has banned political ads that might delegitimize election results, blocked the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon and, this week, limited the spread of a conspiratorial article about Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Influencer contracts are evolving to cover big risks like COVID-19 and governments banning TikTok
Chris Stokel-Walker, Business Insider Premium
Like everyone else, influencers are feeling the impact of the coronavirus on business. Contractual agreements underpin the huge numbers of influencer endorsements and brand deals brokered between companies and digital creators.
Cybersecurity and Privacy
Twitter’s massive outage may be over, company says ‘no evidence’ of hack
Nick Statt, The Verge
Twitter has been experiencing an outage that began in the early evening on Thursday, with some users reporting problems sending tweets and refreshing their timelines starting shortly after 5:30PM ET. Just after 7PM ET, tweets began to cross our timelines, and things may be returning to normal.
Amazon Ring call center workers in Philippines ‘scared’ to go to work during pandemic
Olivia Solon and April Glaser, NBC News
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, call center workers in the Philippines who are contracters for Amazon’s Ring home security division have been required to report to the office. At first, employees said, they had no choice but to sleep at work so they could respond to the calls of Amazon Ring’s customers in American time zones.
Robinhood Estimates Hackers Infiltrated Almost 2,000 Accounts
Sophie Alexander, Bloomberg
Almost 2,000 Robinhood Markets accounts were compromised in a recent hacking spree that siphoned off customer funds, a sign that the attacks were more widespread than was previously known. A person with knowledge of an internal review, who asked not to be identified because the findings aren’t public, provided the estimated figure.
NSA aims to boost Black students’ access to security education, paid internships
Shannon Vavra, CyberScoop
The National Security Agency and the Department of Defense announced an initiative on Thursday meant to increase access to cybersecurity education, mentoring and paid internships for students at historically Black colleges and universities.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Unserved Communities Are Counting on the FCC
Rosa Mendoza, Morning Consult
The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened many divides in communities in the United States. The list includes the digital divide – the gap between those who have access to high-speed internet and those who do not. This digital divide is pronounced in communities of color.
Twitter’s Partisan Censors
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
Republicans are voting to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Friday to explain the company’s unprecedented speech blackout against a New York Post story that could embarrass the Joe Biden campaign. This is the right call on a serious issue, and we hope the Senators come prepared to persuade the American people, not grandstand.
Twitter Goofed It
Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic
Yesterday morning, the New York Post published a bombastic and dubious report—widely criticized by journalists at other outlets—that included screenshots of emails allegedly copied from a hard drive that could possibly have belonged to Hunter Biden. There were numerous holes in the story’s reporting, and the outlet made no obvious attempt to confirm the veracity of the emails, which it said it learned about from the former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
States at risk: The cybersecurity imperative in uncertain times
Meredith Ward and Srini Subramanian, Deloitte and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers
During 2020, chief information security officers (CISOs) have risen to the challenges brought on by the pandemic, working closely with state IT departments to balance cybersecurity risks and business continuity. With most employees unexpectedly working from home for an indefinite period, CISOs secured networks for remote work by enabling or expanding multifactor authentication, enhancing system monitoring to receive early detection and alerts, and reviewing readiness plans to address the possibility of unexpected cybersecurity incidents.